Every body makes such a big deal about Iowa City West High School. "Oh, they are the best in the state." "Their average ACT score this year was a 26." "You can't get a better public education in Iowa..." Okay, maybe you can't however, if that is so, I would never in a million years send my children to any other public school. Below is a letter I just emailed to Jared's English teacher. I am so frustrated with this. Teachers in Iowa City make a mean of $66,000/year. That's more than I make and I have a graduate degree in a highly technical field, 13 years post graduate experience, I am not protected by a union, and I do not get 2 months off during the summer. Our teachers need to step up and demand more of our children.
As Jared and I were talking about the Short Story class, he told me that you were having the kids watch Mean Girls. Confused, I asked him why he was first, watching a movie in a class about literature, and second, why such a meaningless movie. He mumbled something about character development. I know that the state guidelines for English curriculum contain a multimedia component but I am quite concerned about the prevalence of movies in the West High School English department. I would appreciate it if you would be kind enough to take a few minutes to explain to me why you think Mean Girls is academically relevant.
Three of the people who have had the greatest impact on my life are Jim Jordan, Wayne Geri, and Dr. Bud Wigginton - all high school or college English teachers. Although I ended up as a Cell Biologist, I graduated high school with the idea to major in English. One of the reasons they had such a great impact on me is because they expected a lot of me and gave me the opportunity to explore literature and in so doing, myself. A movie will never have the same lasting impact as a well written story. There are many wonderful short stories that would do a much better job helping students understand character development then a movie.
Thanks for your time and effort. My wife and I really do appreciate all that you and your fellow teachers do. You have a difficult job that is made even more so by nosy parents. That being the case, I would be very happy if not one more Hollywood-produced movie was shown at West. The academic relevance of these movies is suspect at best and the epitome of thoughtless education at the worst.
Is it just me? Am I expecting too much?